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Conglomerate Rock From Mars: (Much) More Precious Than Gold

smaddox Re: Go get more? (65 comments)

My understanding is that Mars is not tectonically active, so there might be a lot of 4.4 billion year old rocks just below the surface.

2 days ago
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Multiple Manufacturers Push Hydrogen Fuel Cell Cars, But Can They Catch Tesla?

smaddox Re: GM will have a model come out. (281 comments)

Hydrogen can be produced from the electrolysis of water using any electric power source including wind, solar, and nuclear.

2 days ago
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Number of Coders In Congress To Triple (From One To Three)

smaddox Re: IQ of congress (162 comments)

Cognitive dissonance. The mind is not internally consistent.

about a week ago
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Electric Shock Study Suggests We'd Rather Hurt Ourselves Than Others

smaddox Re:Needs larger sample set. (123 comments)

Just skimmed the associated paper. This isn't my area of expertise, but the data is not all that convincing to me. Most of the samples were near the break-even point (neither selfish nor altruistic). It passes a p-test, but the sample set is pretty small, and systematic errors could easily sway the result.

about two weeks ago
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MARS, Inc: We Are Running Out of Chocolate

smaddox Re: The Fix: Buy good Chocolate! (323 comments)

Agreed. It is interesting for those of us who invest in the stock market, though.

about two weeks ago
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Window Washing a Skyscraper Is Beyond a Robot's Reach

smaddox Re:A cost equation (203 comments)

Unless the question is "How do you feed all the humans in a capitalistic economy, when all of the labor is performed by robots?"

Okay, I guess you could answer "more robots" to that, too, but that would be ignoring the question of who is going to pay for the robots.

about two weeks ago
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Cameron Says People Radicalized By Free Speech; UK ISPs Agree To Censor Button

smaddox Sheltering people is not the solution (316 comments)

Sheltering people from radical ideas is not the solution, for the same reason that sheltering children doesn't work in the long run. Instead, educate them. Give them the tools of rational and critical thinking, and then let them choose for themselves.

about two weeks ago
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Elon Musk's Next Mission: Internet Satellites

smaddox Re:A global network of high-latency torrent server (74 comments)

Free space communications also have the advantage of a group velocity of c, rather than c / 1.5. This may not seem like much a difference, but it's enough that there is a considerable amount of research going into air-core fiber (although air-core is also promising for high power due to lower non-linearity).

about three weeks ago
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Buying Goods To Make Nuclear Weapons On eBay, Alibaba, and Other Platforms

smaddox Re:GASP!!! (260 comments)

Gallium causes almost all metals to corrode on contact.

Mostly just Aluminum. It also forms room temperature eutectics with other metals, but that's the only commonly used one.

On a related note, it's illegal to bring gallium onto an airplane, due to corrosion concerns.

about three weeks ago
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Buying Goods To Make Nuclear Weapons On eBay, Alibaba, and Other Platforms

smaddox Re: Gallium is also a dopant in chipmaking (260 comments)

Thermometers. They don't make them out of Mercury any more, due to toxicity. Most analog thermometers are now alcohol based, but Gallium is used in quite a few.

I won't even bother listing all the uses for pumps and pressure gauges. This article is clearly trolling.

about three weeks ago
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Space Tourism Isn't Worth Dying For

smaddox Re: Well (594 comments)

Ultimately, Earth is a dead end. There will very likely be another extension level event before the sun engulfs the Earth. If we want to survive either, we need to colonize other planets. It may turn out to be infeasible, but it's certainly not impossible.

about three weeks ago
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Hungary's Plans For Internet Tax On Hold After Protests

smaddox Untapped tax source (48 comments)

When you're a politician, everything looks like a tax source.

about a month ago
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Statisticians Study Who Was Helped Most By Obamacare

smaddox Re: how many small businesses has Obama killed? (739 comments)

There's an argument to be made there, but in order to make that system (a welfare state) work in the long term you need to strictly control population growth in the welfare class, and maintain a productive middle class. High technology doesn't maintain itself.

Of course this is ignoring limited resources which demand eventual improvements in technology, or a decrease in population.

about a month ago
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Antares Rocket Explodes On Launch

smaddox Re: Orbital (443 comments)

Statistical analysis of software failure is valid and necessary when there are inputs with random variation, as in this case. Accomidating for variance in SW isn't all that different from adding tolerances to HW. Thus, we could reasonably expect the same sorts of analysis techniques to be useful.

about a month ago
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A Library For Survival Knowledge

smaddox Re:100 year old survival knowledge in PDF files??? (272 comments)

Violence against one another is about the only threat to our future, we have technology of such a state that we are otherwise pretty well situated for centuries of continued growth.

Continued growth at the current rate is not possible with any energy source for more than about 2 centuries. In 275 years, we would have to collect 20% of all the sunlight falling on earth. If we used local fusion reactors, we would very rapidly heat the earth beyond habitability. If we want to survive as a species, we'll have to transition to a steady state society in relatively short order.

about a month ago
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Solving the Mystery of Declining Female CS Enrollment

smaddox Re:Boys are naturally curious... (608 comments)

Just watched it. Very interesting. Thanks for sharing.

about 1 month ago
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NASA Cancels "Sunjammer" Solar Sail Demonstration Mission

smaddox Re: Fame deserved it (74 comments)

What was the detector? 24 wafers isn't as absured as it may sound, for a one off prototype. Developeding a high yield process takes a lot of time and money, especially if it's a relatively new material system.

about a month ago

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